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tv   1911 Congressional Report on Immigration  CSPAN  November 17, 2018 10:15am-11:43am EST

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senator william dillingham of vermont, was formed by congress in 1907 at a time when a large influx of immigrants was seen by many as a national crisis. the joint house and senate effort issued an influential 41 volume report on their findings in 1911. next, catherine benson-: discusses her book on the -- benton-cohen discusses her book. the history center cohosted this 90 minute event. >> we will get started. welcome, everyone. welcome to this installment of ,he washington history seminar which, as many of you are aware, is a joint venture of the national history center and the historywilson center's and public policy program. i am delighted to cochair the
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a professor, and we are delighted to welcome catherine b -- katherine be nton-cohen. i will introduce her in a minute. let me do the preliminaries, acknowledging the president of the national history center. we have with us, the founding cofounding chair of this seminar a number of years ago, and joins us all the way from austin. let me say thank you to amanda does ther there, who heavy lifting in terms of getting us organized for this event, and ask all of you to and off your mobile phones other devices so we can listen without interruption.
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benton-cohen, i think that is it, next week, we have the empire of guns, the making of the revolution, and with that, over to eric. : thank you, christian, i am delighted to introduce our speaker this afternoon, katherine benton-cohen, an associate professor of history at georgetown university. she is the author of borderline -- she is the author of borderline americans, published by harvard university press in 2009, she has served as historical advisor to the b-17, just film biz released, and i believe there are postcards outside you can you up on your way out, so can learn about viewing information about that. hen was a benton-coeh
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fellow here in 2009-2010. she currently serves as a ofturer in the organization distinguished lecturer program, and today, she will present on her recently published book, "inventing the immigration problem: the dillingham commission and its legacy." published by harvard in 2008. with that -- in line -- prof. benton-cohen: 2018. eric: that is what it says, so i should be wearing these. history is about more than dates. prof. benton-cohen: but it is also about dates. [laughter] thank you, eric. peter,to thank amanda, and all the people at the national history center for the invitation to join the washington history seminar whose of events i have attended with great -- i would not say great
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regularity, but with great enthusiasm when i can over the years. i have to thank the wilson fellow, where i was a scholar in 2009-2010, and where i got this project started in earnest. it was merely a proposal when i began, and i also want to thank sonia, nichelle, and john, who were of great service to me when i began to work on the project, and i would like to thank eric, who incidentally was the interlocutor for my first book launch nine years ago. there is a bit of a homecoming happening. my goal today is to offer you some highlights of the seams and arguments of my new book, inventing immigration problem. i am interested to hear feedback from you, as well because the immigration policy of 2018 seems to change by the minute and its relationship with the historical task. i will also just say off the
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connection to the film, which i will mention at the end, which is about my first book, i gave a talk about eight months ago now in minnesota about immigration in 1917 and 2017, and one thing i realized in that talk is simply by the historiography in the united states, they are not that many people who have for it in about border apology -- border policy at large. it occurred to me i became a person who did that. it was not my intention. i think there was some interesting comparison and because today, a lot of people think about immigration policy, but they got little .bout it
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just to compare and contrast to link the two projects i have sent out promotional education to you all about. .et me begin hello. 1907, a twentysomething named ,nna hurston are -- anna dressed in peasant garb, and she was not the peasant or immigrants, but warned and raised in cedar rapids, iowa, in an enclave that is still there. i can never say bohemian enclave because you think of greenwich village, and i'm in cedar rapids. seegot a degree from you berkeley and slavic language and was a settlement house worker in baltimore, but she was hired to conduct an undercover investigation for eastern europeans bound for the united states. that member -- that summer,
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several members of congress, along with their wives and examined villages populated by immigrants. a columbia university anthropologist began to measure the heads and bodies of schoolchildren in new york city. meanwhile, in milwaukee, in san francisco, in duluth, new york, fresno, pittsburgh and beyond, researchers, maybe half of them women, studied immigrant homes and living conditions. in seattle, chicago, new orleans, women and men went undercover in boarding houses and bordellos to ask for the ,urky world of white slavery what we would now call six trafficking. they were part of the willingham commission, the subject -- doing him commission -- dillingham commission, the subject of my book. i examined the commission from 1907 to 1911, the joint
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congressional commission had nine appointed members. they reported 29,000 final pages and wobble the mind, both in page numbers and the geography and topics covered. 20 reports on immigrants and american industry worse stick with numbing and undigested tabulations. cover thingsts from the head size of new immigrants to the conditions that and the her clear investigated -- anna herkner investigated, schools, crimes, philanthropic societies, other country immigration laws, and other immigrant women. the work was publicized in newspapers across the country. one of the things that is wonderful about modern newspaper databases, clean -- like
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chronicling america, the library of congress, i was able to find information about them in newspapers in kentucky, ohio, the american public along the of the agents investigations could read in their local newspapers about lovemaking and hudson valley, sex peddling in chicago, japanese fruit farming and rural california and washington state, household income in chicago and midwestern cities. the smuggling of chinese immigrants through california, mexico, china, and x ago. investigations and worst immigrant labor into lumber camps. i could go on because i have 29,000 pages of material. that is why you should read this short book. from 1907 to 1910, the commission on its staff gathered data on all 46 states and several territories, including
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hawaii. by its conclusion, the dilli had "nommission which fouror no limit" had a years of work. the staff of more than 300, approximately 350 people i found on the payroll at one time or another, compiled 41 volumes of report and a short set of recommendations that shaped immigration policy for generations. herkner,with anna because although several people have studied the commission, most prominently, the immigration historian, oscar me,in, no one noticed until and my assistance, that over half of the commission employees were women. the main point of the national
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seminar talks are to ask, how does this matter to today? there is a similarity of that era to ours. later, i will talk about its legacy to policy. there are two levels. it was a moment of mass immigration then experiment with government, just as today, and there is a long-lasting legacy that in some ways is equidistant to today. what is the word that i want? valences? my mother is an interior designer, so balances come before valences. you know the area of massive immigration from eastern and southern europe, the grandparents and great grandparents about most everyone my age, who is italian or eastern european or jewish descent, largely date from this 1924.rom 1881 to
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at the time, these people were known as new immigrants to distinguish them from the old immigrants, like those from germany, ireland, and scandinavia. the dealing him commission -- idea ofission used this new and old immigrants to organize the two sticks. in doing so, really cemented that nomenclature, which would stick with the historiography of immigration for another century, with some problematic effects. it is designed around european immigration, and what you call the immigration the 20th century century? we got stuck with that terminology for a while. and this time between 1881 in 1924, approximately 24 million immigrants came to the united states, depending on how you count. they eventually reached about 15% of the population, a percentage we have come close to but have not quite exceeded.
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we certainly would have exceeded that statistic had it not been for the 2007-2008 economic downturn. you can see we are similar in the last decade or so of having a similar proportion of immigrants in the united states. in that sense, it was an era in some way familiar to us today. one major way it differed from today, however, is in the so-called progressive era, a growing number of americans viewed government policy and social reform with optimism and enthusiasm. not cynicism and disdain. they also believed in expertise alongsidehat aimed, with their enthusiasm for reform in government policy, quaint, at best. and they looked to the brand-new disciplines of social science, economics, in particular, to get the answers to what they formulated as an immigration problem. the role of the commonest turned
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out to be important in the commission because they insisted that they organized recommendations around economic reasons, not social or racial ones. in 1911, the dillingham wrote a brief -- commission wrote a brief and cogent set of recommendations. i would guess, and i could he told for sure, that this was one of the most successful commissions ever created because rather than being shelved and becoming dusty in some corner bookshelf, a most all of the recommendations are implemented in the next decade or so after its publication. the commission's chief recommendation was for a literacy test for immigrants, along with it continued ban on asian immigration, additional regulations and had taxes, and for the first time, actual
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numerical quantitative limits on immigration. the literacy test, which was their primary recommendation, was enacted after multiple attempts in 1917, and the final recommendationin 1917 in the fil recommendation for a quota system that came by the 1920's the national origins quota system that openly discriminated against southern and eastern europeans by using a formula that created quotas for immigration based on the proportion of immigrants from various countries in the 1890's senses before most of the so-called new immigrants from southern and eastern europe had arrived. that was a mouthful and if not familiar with the history, let me rephrase that. in other words, the first experiment with the 1910 census as the basis before deciding the proportion of people of national origin in the u.s. fibrillation, and then they realized it was 20 years of migration from the very countries they had hoped to limit so they change the law and
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had 1890 be the basis. at thesmall percentage beginning of the large migration from southern and eastern europe had begun. it is still more complicated than that. , evenrecommendations suggestions and especially once signaled anacted, watershed change because they represented the first time immigration policy was based on quantitative measures, that is quota, rather than qualitative measures exclusively, like race, criminal status, disease, or radical political beliefs. or as they put it at the time, the first to be restrictive rather than regulatory. these were terms people used at the time. since that time, the federal government has modified the outwardly discriminatory aspects of the quota system which gave racially preferred countries like england and germany vastly larger quotas that under desirable once like greece and
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italy. hearts to say that the fell or act of 1965 gave every nation the same quota. that is a classic example of something that seems fair but if you think about it, makes no sense. why should mexico, our next-door neighbor, received the same quota as switzerland or both warner. before 1965, there was no quota on mexico. there were overall hemisphere limits. mexico, compared to the quotas on eastern and southern europe, one of the reason mexican immigration rose so sharply after 1924. the policy makers involved in the dillingham commission and legislation that followed were interested in curbing the immigration of asians and eastern and southern europeans, but barely noticed the yet still
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small migration from latin america. in fact, this is one of my favorite things to still students when i teach immigration history, the federal government did not even bother to count land crossing migrants until 1908. think about that. if you were to do a google hit about order and immigrant, a google search, this was so not important to american policymakers and bureaucrats, they were not counting people crossing the border, much less trying to stop them. it did not create the border patrol until 1924. let me return to the quotas and limits. why are any of these suggestions or law surprising? of course, you say, of course we regulate immigration. i would imagine we occupied maybe not the broadest
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ideological spectrum at the wilson center but a spectrum. most people would agree that the federal government has an appropriate role in regulating rate -- immigration and limiting it in some ways. you say, of course we regulate immigration, we could do a better job, but it seems normal to have immigration laws. that is what the federal government does. otherwise come immigration is a problem. that is part of what i want to argue. the job of the historian is to say, really, did we normalize this? origins thatcal seem strange? yes. the dillingham commission's work and recommendations spot about something now seems like common sense, immigration is a problem the federal government must solve. before the progressive
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era of the early 20th century, it was not clear to most people that either part of this deposition, immigration was a was, theor, if it federal government's job to fix it. it was not clear to everybody that either part of this supposition was true. people talk about the immigration question but restrictions on immigration were functionally almost none. to give you an example often familiar to people -- >> worth the exception the chinese? -- warned the exception the chinese? ms. benton-cohen: but that was -- not immigration as a group. at the height of the anti-irish nativism of the mid-19th century , everybody has seen the cartoons. no federal laws were passed restricting the arrival or immigration of the irish. there was a whole political party founded that was
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anti-irish. yet, no federal laws seriously did this. in 1882, congress passed the chinese exclusion act, a terrible law, the first to restrict immigrants on the basis of class because of bad laborers , and raise, not just being from china but of chinese origin. you could not emigrate from any country if you were the chinese race. it was so specifically targeted at one group it was not clear it set any precedent for any federal law. first, at least at temporary measure. even that was something congress said, let's try this, we are not sure about it. americans were deeply skeptical in general about federal power in the 19 century, especially in the years following reconstruction. here is the thing, i have also tried to add some regional awareness.
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.o this work often federal immigration policy is pursued as a legislative process that does not take into account regional differences about attitudes about immigration and the federal government. the history of immigration policy in the united states has historically been one in congress in which congress has favored legislative approaches to immigration policy. that makes sense, congress makes laws. have favor the executive power to be flexible with immigration policy. this has to do to be true regardless of party. -- tended to be true regardless of party and general individual members of congress have looked at limiting immigration for domestic and cultural reasons for presidents party have often been friendlier to immigrants, partly because immigrants and their children make up part of the electorate, but equally importantly for diplomatic reasons.
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wantdents generally do not congressman alienating important allies. this has been true regardless of the party of the president. george w. bush and president obama at stances on immigration reform that had much in common at least until 9/11 created the patriot act. there immigration platform looked similar. president trump is an exception in this regard. as in so many things, and being such a hardliner on immigration policy in the white house, from lincoln to cleveland to taft to wilson to treatment to jfk come in some ways reagan, all spoke and acted in favor of immigration and immigrants. cleveland, taft, wilson, president was in twice all the diversions of a literacy test
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that passed congress. it had passed congress a few times before the dillingham commission recommended it and then it was vetoed three times after they recommended it until it became law over wilson's second veto. one way to understand this dynamic is to re-situated be dillingham commission -- the dillingham commission away from the immigration history which has tended until the last take it or so to look at the social history of immigrants to part of a larger global perspective on internationalism and federal power in the early 20th century. that was a mouthful. in other words, the dillingham commission is well-known among historians and almost always associated with the eastern and southern europeans i mentioned, the new immigrants, but the reality is the commission itself owes its very existence to a legislative compromise made
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necessary by a diplomatic process with japan. .- crisis with japan the theme of legislative versus executive branch power and the question of federal power more generally. why does this matter? reasons, first, demonstrates diplomacy and foreign policy have always been at the center of immigration debate, even when nativist voices try to ignore these realities. second, demonstrates one of the ways federal power, in this case executive power, expanded to accommodate new ideas about what the federal government should and can do about immigration. in the rest of my comments today , i would like to talk a little bit about how the commission came to be and the crisis with japan. and then i want to circle back to the question essential to this seminar, the commission's long-term affect, not just on federal policy, but on how
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americans think about immigration policy in general. and i hope we can have a fruitful conversation. him, --senator telling senator william p dillingham, probably not see a senator from vermont do a commission on immigration. he is from water very. he was the kind of moderate, a moderate restrictionist, favor of the literacy test, but he did not want complete asian exclusion. he wavered on how hard-core he wanted things. cold,mont, the rocky, northern vermont farms were failing and people removing south and west, he tried to recruit a bunch of smedes to vermont because they were the right kind of white.
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he managed to recruit about 36 of them. it was not that successful. ok. as i mentioned, for understanding both reasons, the dillingham commission associated with new immigrants from europe 20 vines on the immigrants and industry were devoted to japanese and other races in the pacific coast states. i want to pause. picture the american west in california. and picture who lives there now. picture what country it used to be a part of, hint, mexico. yet the name of these three volumes was japanese and other races. there was something like 10 times as many mexican immigrants in the american west than there were japanese immigrants in the early 20th century. far fewer than there would be a decade later.
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nevertheless, why does the relatively small population of japanese immigrants attract so much attention, it is because they are the concern. they are a problem. according to the federal government. the director of the report on the west, an economist from stanford, summarized what he called the three immigration problems he thought the commission needed to create legislative remedies for fear the first pleasure of immigration and the other two pertain to excluding asians. he thought two thirds of the nation's immigration problems are asian related. these priorities have not survived in most read tellings of the commission's origins or roles. a little history of review for you. what happened in 1907? 1906 had been the devastating san francisco earthquake. in a chaotic aftermath of that,
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as san francisco scramble to reorganize itself and its government, the school board announced it would segregate japanese schoolchildren in the public schools. two interesting -- things interesting about this, that they were not segregated before, and they decided to announce in a big way, when it involved fewer than 90 children. withthough the bay area los angeles, the largest population of japanese in the u.s., predominantly adult and predominantly male, population that does not produce a lot of children. we are talking about less than 100 children. this prompted official objections from the japanese government. theodore roosevelt was blindsided by this action by the san francisco school board and saw it as an act of shared races of and a front to his own diplomacy in which he wanted japan as an ally because he did
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not want to literally or figuratively go to war with japan over the pacific. he called the san francisco school board racist, a term which does not actually come out of president's mouse that often -- mouths that often come and try for a compromise. in 1906, the houses had passed an immigration bill but have a literacy test that they could not agree on. it was in conference for more than six months. they could not make any progress. they did a thing the constitution says you're not supposed to, they had people go over and say, you are going to pass this law and you are going to put this measure that allows theodore roosevelt to ban passports, ban entry of people with japanese passports, and you will put this commission that will study immigration into your bill and you will pass it this week, thank you and goodbye.
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--ry catalogs had enough henry cabot lodge had enough power to complete the goal come on the committee, they recognize the needs to get this bill through which allowed roosevelt with the agreement, which agreement? 1907? somebody has to know. the gentleman's agreement. agreed to end emigration of japanese laborers to the united states. what that meant is that congress did the thing is so often does, kick the can down the road and said let's have a commission to study the problem rather than make any inclusions. that is how the commission came about. were people concerned about southern and eastern european immigration in the p years? absolutely, 1907 was a record
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year for arrivals. it was a diplomatic crisis with japan that prompted the actual creation of the commission, not any independent move to do that on its own. that so wetextualize can take questions and talk about the long-term legacy of the commission, i want you to understand, picture that the south had a disproportionately large representation in congress and the senate. particularly the senate for reasons i do not need to explain because we know about how the senate is elected and how many states get how many and so on and so forth. they did not really like many southern legislators -- many southern legislators did not rooseveltepublican aggregation of federal power and understand very well that although it had nothing to do with say jim crow, it was a demonstration of the power that
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the federal president -- that an increasingly powerful presidency could yield on domestic affairs. it started as a local conflict at a school board. in fact, once of the legislator use the famous language and said, the big stick which this permits the president to hold over the states may sometimes be wielded to the overthrow of the most sacred institution of the south, that is racial segregation. important because i want to historically say that the idea of legislative immigration policy of a powerful and robust federal administrative mechanism to regulate immigration was not popular in an era in which people wanted to keep federal power limited. right? today may not see an analogy between southern race relations and immigration policy
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, members of congress did see that connection and feared the growth of it with states that have that kind of power. , diplomats did not love this either because they like to negotiate rings at the negotiating table and this was a break in which a legislative solution was found for a diplomatic problem. one of the founders of international law also understood this to be the writing on the wall. he understood this reflected in some way and increasing ability of congress to legislate immigration policy. understood that it was a rise of illlar democracy that bode for the transaction politics that he wanted to engage in. he was right. as a result of this compromise, the dillingham commission serve
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as a bridge from the 19th century tradition of a minimalist federal immigration policy driven by international diplomacy to an emergency 20th century reality of restrictive legislation dictated by domestic politics. result, that is one of the opening chapters of my book and i have read more or less a new origin story for this famous commission. not as an entity created because of an obsession with where the italians and eastern european jews, but as a byproduct of the diplomatic crisis with japan, all because of this local race relation issue in san francisco. that is not to say that the pagesty of those 29,000 is not about eastern and thatern europeans and traditional immigration history we know of the late 19th and early 20th century. that is certainly true. but another intervention i make into the ways of the dillingham
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commission has been written about this kind of contrary to the slide i will show you. let's just roll with it. i wrote a chapter about a young washington gone to and lee university and went to the university of chicago for economic graduate school but did not finish. he got an m.a. but did not get a phd. he got hired and was a good employee to oversee the entire 20 volume immigrant and industries report, which were of theeral ball -- bulk commission's findings and the evidence for the economic immigrant of new immigrants is that they lower the american standard of living and this is why we should restrict them. he is interesting to me because the intervention i make is he was not primarily driven by eugenics, not driven by racism, i believe -- a common stereotype of the dillingham commission it
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is his lid -- littered in eugenics thinking but i do not think that is fact. there is 41 points and it is disputable because you can cherry pick lots of locations to match her argument and their was lots of internal contradictions. if you take the fact that he was very insistent that he was making an economic argument and his major argument was that the problem was that there were all of these industrial communities that have such a large number of immigrants that they could not assimilate easily. this is a different argument than saying they are not able to assimilate at all. i am not saying i love the argument but i am saying it is not the same argument as, these people are inherently un-american, racially different, and they can never be good americans. that they haves a lot to learn and the community is not helping them one bit to become americans. one thing that struck me is that he criticizes local power
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like factory owners and mayors and city council and churchesice, and local , for failing to try to assimilate these new immigrants. the outcome is a recommendation to blame the victim, the new immigrants. a different one than saying these are racially in. people who could never begin americans. more evidence is the commission's incredible enthusiasm for what it called distribution policy. the is a perfect example of way in which policies that do not work disappear from our mindset and we forget that someone ever took them seriously. the dillingham commission, i refer to senator dillingham's failed attempt in vermont come he was a proponent of the idea that what we really need to do is that the jews and italians out of the lower east side of little italy and get them to
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move to the south and west. some of you may have heard of the galveston movement, an attempt by jewish reformers and philanthropists to open a port in galveston, texas, get eastern european jews to immigrate to galveston and strip themselves across the south and west, another populated area with easing the congestion of eastern cities and that urbanization with immigration was one of the things that raise so much concern in the minds of americans. idea -- you cannot believe any inherent inferiority of immigrants if you should put them into newco, kentucky and set of pittsburgh, the idea was that there was too high a concentration of them so let's dilute the power. but let's not been them altogether. they tried it but it did not work.
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end to emphasize this relationship between distribution policy and changing ideas about federal power with the example that the last chapter of my book, and attempt to bring italian sharecroppers from the mississippi delta to replace african-americans. here you can see some race issues. right? this entire project was italiansd on the fact would be better workers, better citizens than african-americans. of course, it was consequence of the fact that african-americans in increasing numbers, this is before the government -- height of the great migration, they are beginning to leave the delta. and plantation owners are concerned about labor. percy, one ofy the most prominent planters of the entire south, certainly of
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the delta. his adoptive son william percy and walker percy are the famous writers and novelist. he came up with a scheme. it was to import italians to replace african-americans on a plantation he managed on the arkansas side of the mississippi delta called sunnyside plantation. things, all kinds of says these are great workers any problem with immigration is not the numbers, it is where we send people. this is the magic solution and the dillingham commission writes a raving endorsement of sunnyside. it reads like a travel log. like a voters guide or -- fodor's guy or a chamber of commerce guide to this model plantation, describing there a tie in cooking, vegetables -- i
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italian cooking, vegetables. and lee roy percy is being investigated by the department of justice for violation of laws , he is trapping italians and lying and giving them scripts saying they have not been induced to come work. he is chasing them with shotguns if they tried to sneak to greenville. and then, the senator from mississippi drops dead one day and happened to serve on the commission. and then the legislature appoints a replacement and that is senator leroy percy, suddenly he is on the very commission supposed to be investigating the conditions of immigrants in the american south. he manages literally to edit out the bad parts. and a report they sent about $50,000 -- spent $50,000 on to study immigrants in the american south, has it reduced to five
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pages, largely about the state of maine. which is very far from arkansas and mississippi. i do not know if you have ever looked at a map. he and other southerners stop the inquiry which would make them look bad. by the end of this process, leroy percy, who had once been one of the most famous advocates of distribution policy and an opponent, like most of the southern delegation, an opponent of immigration restrictions, had changed his tune. he said it was too much of a thing. -- too much of a pain. there are two many hoops to jump through, forget it, let's restrict immigration. the dillingham commissions, located relationship to the $15,000,t $50,000 but
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still a lot of money in 1910. commissions, get a relationship with itself is essential to understanding the path towards greater federal immigration restrictions. the percy last-minute appointment to the dillingham commission showed a continued interest in distribution policy and as i mentioned, change the outcome of the report. sunnyside, his plantation that briefly had italians, was a lightning rod for differing ideas about immigrant distribution and policy, particularly about ideas about labor and race. when percy gave in and endorsed restrictions, like i said, that became the last hour against the federal power requires to restrict immigration. the south transformation from the region most opposed to restriction and thus the federal immigration laws, the ones most
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enthusiastic was this kind of last straw. by the time the dillingham commission finished its work, governors have become congress's most reliable restrictionist. stalwart supporters of states rights ideology and immigrant recruitment like percy stopped opposing federal restriction laws, the political calculus for passing restriction laws change forever. in the sunnyside investigation, the production of propaganda about this is one of the thousands of slips of paper that people had to fill out in communities across the country giving their race and nationality. this was the raw material that the data collected. 1.i would like to make for you is that you will notice that
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mexican is not even listed. that was considered -- imagine making a federal form on immigration today that did not include some version of mexican hit hispanic latino. mexican immigration is small in this time. . up until the very end, people who favored restrictions were not sure how the recommendations would look. the most prominent organization devoted to restriction was called the immigration restriction league. it was apprised of harvard men who were very elite.
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they had been following the commission's work closely. they sent an undercover spy on the commission's trip to europe to report back on what they were looking at. one of their lobbyists observed that the commission was not made up of friends of restriction. having two or three good restrictionist, some good dilution test, and more or less public opinion. the members were divided over the literacy test that came together with the exception of one member of the commission, so in the end they had and all but one unanimous recommendation for restriction. bennett a guy named from new york.
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he was not jewish and he did not live in harlem. he opposed the restrictions. right after the reports were done, the two most important published a summary which theyolumes call the immigration problem. it went into six additions and described with the condition. just commission thought they had found. a problem. why i amderscore emphasizing that problem language. the commission area formulation of an immigration problem in need of solving through federal bureaucratic power has become so indelibly imprinted into federal immigration policy that it's now seems entirely natural
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-- natural almost across the political spectrum. consider the irony of president trump's then advisor steve for a 2017 call deconstruction of the administrative state. even as he advocated a dramatic expansion of federal immigration enforcement and exclusion. been nonsensical in 1907. conceiving of immigration as a problem was an invention. one deeply embedded in the way bureaucrats and deletes saw the relationship between social science and public policy and the progressive era. we have long since left that confidence and their social science behind, but we live with the residue of their misguided confidence. [applause] >> thank you. have ournderful to alumni back to present the work
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that they started. talk.great to hear your it very much fits the larger agenda of the seminar and of the program that is to bring historical context to pressing public policy issues. , if you couldff talk about wolfson and the legacy. >> i am glad you brought that up. one thing i wanted to close the .oop the film which has to do with my first book centers around a famous strike in reaction to it in 1917. i will talk about wilson and connect the two right now. strikes to do with a
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then they were forcibly removed in 1917. and 2000 recently deputized local men who were serving as deputies. and putnded up 1200 men boxcars23 company-owned and ship them into the new mexico desert and left them there. the film is about how the town has dealt with this event. reason why i am connecting 17 is wilson. this happened three months after the u.s. entered world war i and just after the literacy test was finally passed over wilson's second veto. what is interesting about that and hook it back in and to think about the future policies that
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had to do with mexicans as well as other immigrants is that the way the law was written, it included mexicans in an increased head tax. new kinds of inspections and a literacy test. ,he literacy test of that area they only had to be literate in their own language. poor countries have lower literacy rates. wilson did not want it. -- he said some atrocious things about southeastern europeans. he later recanted. we can also said that he actually changed his view.
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we can leave that open as a possibility. because of the wartime labor crisis, southwestern employees petitioned the secretary of labor under wilson also named said can you exempt mexicans from this new law? we desperately need them to work in the minds and we need them to work in southwestern agriculture and he did. this became an interesting example of an attempt at parity and that exemption blessed into the 1920's and helps us understand that map of the rise of mexican immigrants over eastern and southern europeans. wilson, heing about vetoed the literacy test twice.
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he had to call an investigation whichhe bisbee incident highlighted the injured her seas of immigrant politics during wilson's administration. about impact and chronology. work,guys wrap up their they put out a million volumes. i'm sure americans read every last word of it. congress passes a number of restrictionist laws and presidents of veto them. early 1920'sil the that the fruits of the commission are harvested and you have a formula at the very edge of the book.
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there is that decade between the ad -- end of the report and the heavy legislation that eventually passes area is this simply a matter of presidents standing in the way of loss or congress wants to pass? a world where the caps off immigration? off world war that cuts immigration? if you could explain or talk a little bit about that decade waiting period before the fruits and harvested? >> in the session of congress in the following year, senator of the him who is chair senate committee on immigration
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and this guy burnett who is from alabama, he is interesting because he represents birmingham which is one of the few places that has immigrant union laborers in the south. pro-restriction. he is an exception in the south. he is the chair of the house committee. the chairs are both members of the commission. passessh out a bill that which is what taft be toes. message saying this is un-american. the defense of immigrant language that we hear time and again. then, i would concur with the outbreak of war. because youplummets cannot safely cross the
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atlantic. it gets tabled for a while. there are lots of ideological restrictions already in the law. you can't profess a belief in anarchy, polygamy. a's not about being polygamist or professing a believe, it's about professing a believe. about professing a believe. i think the rise of the eugenics movement is a more important shift. this story has been narrated by political science approaches that collapse the development of eugenics as a full-scale popular movement in the united states. its origins are in great britain. --n johnson becomes head
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important on the house committee of immigration, he hires a preeminent eugenicist and that u.s.. there is nothing like that before 1919. i think that is a real turning point. >> thank you. let's open it up for comments and questions. if you could please wait for the microphone. we are being covered by c-span so it is important to use the microphone. you.ank
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it is wonderful to see you and the book and know that it is coming out. as i recall when you were first here, you had trouble getting your hands on the part or all the volumes. i wonder where you found it? second, i noticed in the picture of the commission there are no women. that have the employees who were women were at a lower level. i wonder if you detect any influence from them? it seems like they were trained a sociologist and so -- social workers. i wonder if you see any evidence or if you could figure out if they were trying to have some influence on the final recommendations and if so what that might have been?
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widely, i was intrigued by your point that the commission faulted the immigrants for sticking together. and felt that the communities were inhibiting their ability to assimilate. hamlin historiography was about the importance of immigrant communities in facilitating assimilation. it's interesting to think about that and what evidence those historians were looking at and how that contrasted with what the commission itself is looking at. to thet, with respect reports, they are easy to find. what was supposedly destroyed during wilson's administration were all of the records of the commission itself. it is a backup files.
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me whetherlear to that was for any nefarious purpose in the years before national archive policies. conceived thati this is a great project to do in washington dc because it is federal, but i went to 24 archives around the country that were personal papers of people involved in the commission. that leads me to the topic of women. there are no women on the commission you are correct. two women were considered and lobbied for. jane addams and francis keller. they make perfect sense if you know anything about the time. this is when women were starting to have public roles. these ideas were seriously floated by lobbyists. no one of eastern
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or southern european descent. there were multiple recommendations by jewish lobbyists for people and roosevelt said he did not want anyone with a bias. [laughter] there is a lot of documentation of that. the women who worked on the commission made a big difference. i think we can definitely of two of the work of two of them as a me too moment. both of them highly emphasized harassment and assault on the basis of gender. mary philbrook, she and her agents who investigated white slavery were anonymous even in the final or because they were
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afraid of retaliation. they reported lots of violence inflicted against them. philbrook had the gall to suggest that there was beginning to be a traffic in boys. homosexual sex trafficking and she had the temerity to suggest that some women who are considered white slaves, they were prostitutes and they did so willingly. realized that as sex workers they could make more in the u.s. and in europe. this was a thing that only a woman reformer could have the guts to say.
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they launched a very successful effort to make local and separatist edition laws sex neutral and have the prostitution's -- penalties for john's and prostitutes be the same. .ou can see her philosophy there is some evidence -- influence and evidence. one of the -- one other thing send you is referring to is the transplant as opposed to uprooted. of a a classic example different research agenda. area was lots that that
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could draw on from the commission reports which are frequently used by historians to show the ways in which they have these enclave communities. the telling him commission was interested in things like wages and citizenship. those are issues that are not as interesting to social historians as immigration. i think it also goes to my point -- it is also the case that he didn't think the small towns should assimilate to bohemian ideals but rather they should assimilate to the wasp ideal. >> thank you. at the very beginning of your
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remarks, the only time you used the word order was then. we think of immigration problems today is border problems. certainly the ports of the east coast and the gulf coast were borders. they were watery ones. when it do borders themselves begin it to become an important in debates over immigration? certainly, ellis island was the entry on a border to the east coast. we begin to shift into concerns about physical borders? there was a canadian border. we don't talk about it. >> people did talk about it. the border comes and goes as an
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important policy matter in this time. chinese immigrants decided to enter via canada or mexico and cross the land borders. there was a well-known article and 1891 where an investigative does -- goes and along with these smuggling boats and looks at the u.s. canadian border and the chinese who are crossing the desert into arizona and texas. the national archives right down hazmat in record maps 85 the agents found of how to find tucson and tombstone and phoenix and how to
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dress. i love teaching this to undergraduates. i have a class called invention of the illegal alien. there are images captured by immigration agents on the border after 1908 that are pictures of syrians whoing, -- had either disease that banned them from entering dressing up as drunk mexicans to cross the border because drunk mexicans did not attract the interest of immigration agents. there are pictures of japanese mappingts who started and el paso and buying mexican clothing to cross as railroad or minor workers. the initial years of border
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enforcement were the chinese inspectors. a lot of historians have great know about that and is really fun stuff. then, you start to see an interest after 1924 because the consequence of the quota causes an immediate spike in mexican government -- immigration. that also bans filipinos. you start to see a real uptick in attention to the border and to mexicans. i was wondering, the constitution talks about citizenship from the point of view of qualifications for holding office and the citizens of states. there is no talk about how someone who was not born in the u.s. he comes a citizen. when he did that get started? how did that get started? what is it based on? outside but itle
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in rough relief. the operative thing is the 1790 natural as a law which required a short-term of residency in the u.s. and being a free white person. that is pretty much it. got more restrictive with the aliens edition act in an attempt to make the nationalization process along. that was temporary and the general gist was that it was really easy to become a citizen. you need to be a free white person. what changes is the end of surgery -- slavery and the 14th amendment. birthright citizenship. that, the naturalization corollary of the 14th amendment is that right after the 14th amendment gets ratified, congress passes a law
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saying that people of african descent can become u.s. citizens because they recognize the 14th amendment gets them birthright citizenship so you have to create nationalization mechanism. that means that the chinese can become ineligible for nationalization. thing, the year before the telling him commission is created, there is a naturalization act of 1907. one of the members of the commission was the real leader of the nationalization act. the naturalization act of 1906 made federal the policy of naturalization which previously had been in local and state courts. it matches the timeframe of codifying the federal states
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role in immigration and citizenship. i am looking for some clarification and perhaps you can disabuse me of some of my thinking. [laughter] you said that initially there was concern about the of eastern and southern europeans and that was about one third of the concern. regarding asian immigrants both japanese and chinese. yet, the seed that initially started the concern or motivated the formation of the telling him
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commission centered around something that took place in san francisco with 90 japanese students. that sounds like a relatively small number. i would think that perhaps chinese immigrants would have rather thanivation his japanese students. on was it that this took such a momentum? the two thirds -- one third came from the volumes that a man wrote. he had a particular interest in asian immigrations in that sense he was perhaps not the most objective observer.
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asian immigration was very much a hot topic for these policymakers. ,ith respect to the chinese they have been excluded since .882 the commission said we don't need to deal with chinese immigration because we haven't handled. having said that, this guy who served on the commission's, he is considered the first federal expert. the ever roosevelt when he was governor what appoint him to do stuff and then what's roosevelt became president he became his go to guy. he had a side interest in chinese immigrants and a very esteemed historian turned me onto this when she was running a book on these chinese interpreter family. himfound stuff about chasing all over san diego into
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this chinese smuggling scheme that he said involved corrupt immigration agents. she and i went down this route whole reading hilarious documents about this ridiculous ivy league professor asking immigration agents in san diego to keep suspected illegal immigrants for the whole summer until he could finish teaching summer school zynga go interview them. [laughter] it was completely ridiculous. then these immigration image and -- agents are like really? produced hundreds of pages of testimony and interviews and back and forth and name-calling and none of it appears the commissioner works. >> my question is about
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state-level immigration investigation. did you find any evidence that they were pushing against the commission or amplifying the commission's work? >> one of the appointees on the commission was a guy named william wheeler. he was from san francisco. he had been on the california immigration commission which was very interested in asian immigration. there was a new york commission which met just before the telling him commission shirts of notes.
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one of the members of the new york commission was lewis marshall who was a important attorney in new york leading jewish lobbyists and also defended the chinese immigration cases. he tended to be soft on immigration. they did very. you might also being -- be before 1907, many southern states had state immigration bureau's whose job it was to recruit immigrants. they would actually go to europe and recruit immigrants. , cracked down on introduced immigration and made those no longer legal. this is one of the things that got leroy percy into trouble is he had been behaving in a way
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that is probably ok before 1907 but not afterwards. trying to entice italians to come to his plantations. a number of state bureaus and you can find their advertisements at the national archives. is thank you for that. in 1906, the tree of portsmouth in maine brokered an agreement between russia and japan on ending the war. 1907 you mentioned the gentleman's agreement where japan has come out passports for laborers to the u.s.. was there a direct link that we find between those two events? there are two direct linkages interestinghem is unexpected and allows me to
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mention a chapter i have not mentioned yet. yes roosevelt had been central to the brokering of the agreement in the russo japanese war. -- heionship is that shows with incredible elegance the ways in which the japanese government at this time didn't want japanese laborers to come to the u.s. either. they had a whole ideology about race and class that really a japanwhat was kind of among the elites in the u.s..
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those three would write letters back and forth to each other. about i can't believe these racist idiots equate the chinese and japanese. obviously the japanese are the white people of asia. they saw a real distinction. in that, they could find a common ground with japan. the second thing is that i have a chapter on the emergence of the modern american jewish lobby which came about to fight immigration restrictions. schiff who was the most important jewish financier in the u.s. floated the bonds the cap japan going to win the war against russia. because of the discrimination the jews found in russia. there is another link with immigration politics and the u.s..
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>> you didn't mention any industrial pressure on the telling him commission. my understanding is that a lot of the late 19th century was induced. it was for the purpose of lowering wages, fighting unions. saying that were actually passed a law against induced labor. this wasn't for the south. wondering, how does that fit into the telling him commission's work and didn't have an impact? >> i left it unmentioned but that is another way in which immigration policy until recently has not tracked carefully with party.
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for the reason that democrat antiracist politics match with open workforce policies. that was true in his time. as well. this caused some conflicts. that theyo question wanted cheap access to labor and jet lock was part of the old the craft labor unions. he becomes john lewis's right-hand man who proposes the living wage campaign in the 1930's. that is absolutely going on here. the other thing is that jeremiah and many other staff
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members of the commission belongs to the national civic federation which is the prototype of the republican think tank. apartf started to fall over the question of immigration because it had obviously a strong the business component who resisted restriction on immigration which some other branches of its membership began to promote. >> any other comments or questions? reception where we can continue our conversations. book and talk touched on high-level issues. relationship to the president. there is a lot more in the book. it is an engrossing read. the individual chapters on the different individuals and the studies that they undertook are
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absolutely fascinating. should you buy the book, and i recommend that you do, you will find yourself drawn in to both the high level national issues that she engages with but also the specific individual stories on how researchers go about doing their work and conceptualizing the immigration problem. i think it will pay up close reading and i highly recommend it. -- come back in one week in one day for our next session. that is tuesday, october 23 when we will hear a speech on a new book empire of guns. then and join us now for a reception. thank you to our -- participants.
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[applause] in the view of the warren commission, they described the circumstances of the assassination of president kennedy. is there more to this story than the war and report ever discovered? >> this weekend on real america. the 1967 special news series the warren report. anchored by walter cronkite investigating unanswered questions into president john f. kennedy's assassination. tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern.
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lee harvey oswald and whether he acted alone. click it seemed evident that we should try to establish the ease or difficulty of that rather -- rapidfire performance. how fast could that rifle be fired? dr. martin luther king the apostle of nonviolence and the civil rights moment has been shot to death in memphis tennessee. at all points bulletin has been released. dr. king was standing on the balcony of the second floor hotel room tonight when a shot was fired from across the street. the bullet exploded in his face.
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on april 4, 1960 eight, dr. martin luther king jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the room lorraine motel. the national civil rights museum, we visit to learn about his final days and what brought him to memphis. >> when we study the history of pre-and there is post-april 4, 1968. dr. king had his nonviolent resistance following but after the assassination of malcolm x, you have the formation of the black panthers. leaders calling out for black power to take control of their own neighborhoods and communities. in ideologysplit and philosophy in which was the most effective way


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